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Full text of "Flora Indica Vol-I"

116                                         FLORA  INDICA.
This genus corresponds with the section Melodorum of Unona, as loft by Dunal
(judging from the chnractcrs. not from the spectra included), and with the Mefodora
division of Voarin of Ulnnic in the Fl. Juvtc, excluding, however, ahuobt all DunaPs
species, and a few of those included by BJume, which do not appear uaiarnlly allied
to the majority. Lourciro's Mehifamw is different, ns we have determined by an
inspection of the materials in the Jiiitwh Museum. In that collection there is an au-
thentic specimen of M.fruticosum, Lour., which is an uiulcscribed plant, of doubtful
affinity, as we have not examined the flower, but certainly not belonging to this genus.
It has no fruit. There is no authentic specimen of Jf. arborwm, Lour., but it is de-
scribed as a large tree, and is perhaps a MUrepAora. A specimen from Sir George
Staunton, which is so named, is an Tlnarin, nearly allied to, if not idcui ical with, U.
microcarpa, Champion. This, however, docs not accord with Loureiro's description.
Notwithstanding the exclusion of both Lourciro's species, it appears desirable tp retain
the name for the group to which it was applied by Dunal and Blumc, whose works
and plants are well known to botanists, rather than to substitute a new one. Lou-
reiro's plants will probably both be found to belong to well-known genera. At all
events, his descriptions are not sufficient to identify the sjywies nor to distinguish the
genus: it would therefore, we think, be manifestly unjust to Dunal and Blume not
to retain their name.
As defined above, the genus is a very natural one, well marked by tiie triquetrous
buds. The thick, firm, fleshy petals are strictly valvate in aestivation, and the inner
ones are concave near the base only, while towards the apex they are triquetrous and
acutely carinate internally, so that the two inner faces rest against the corresponding
ones of the nest petals, exactly as in Jnoua. The numerous stamens, with linear,
parallel, approximate anther-cells, are terminated (generally) by a fleshy process of
I he conncctivum, which is analogous to that of Aiio.ia,, but often much more deve-
loped. The conical torus and oblong styles, much slenderer than the ovary, are also
important characters. The sepals arc often persistent in the fruit, uud the species
are all scandent.
The generic character might be made still more definite, by introducing the num-
ber of ovules, which is in general great, were it not that there are several species
iu which they are reduced to two. The type of these aberrant species is Pofyal-
thia Kentii, Blmnc (Mcfodorum Eentii, ll.f. at T.), a plant which has not hitherto
been found within our limits, but which so closely resembles M. elcgans, H.f. et T.,
a many-ovnled species, that the two are undistinguishable when placed together,
except by an examination of the flowers. Iu consequence of this close resem-
blance, which extends to all parts of the flower, we think it better to retain Af.
£entiiv&& 3L pisocarpitm in Melodoruin, than to institute a new genus which is
not indicated by habit. Indeed, the number of ovules is in this case of less im-
portance than other characters, because J/". eleytms and J/, JCenf.il agree in so many
points that they form a natural section of the genus, characterized by the peculiar
thickened petals, the glabrous, glandular dotted ovaries, and pitted seeds.
Besides tlie. species described below, one or two of which have already been figured
by .Blume, several exist in herbaria from the Philippine Islands. The genus is, how-
ever, so far as is known, entirely Asiatic, no Australian, African, or American spe-
cies bcin^ known. It is still more remarkable that no species occur in Ceylcn, or
in the Madras Peninsula, or anywhere west of the Ganges; though in !Mala'ya they
are very abundant, and many species extend along the coast of Arracau and CJiitta-
gong to Silhet and Khasia, and one or two to the base of the Himalaya* where they
are found as far west as Sikkim.
Sect. 1. EXJMELODORTJM.—Petcda exteriora auguste nwginata,
Ocaria strigoso-pilosa. Ovula munerosa. Semina non serobi-
culata.
1. M. robiginosum (H.f. et T.); foliis oblougis obtusis vcl acii